In Our Own Backyards
Childhood is about looking into little dark holes and out-of-the-way green thickets that our parents and elders wouldn’t spare a second glance. Before we worry about math tests and history books (much less taxes and car insurance),we have the priceless freedom to look in the dark corners and the twilight tree groves and for at least a moment entertain the possibility that something strange or magical, something other, waits there for us to peek in.
Then we grow up and learn the cruel reality of electrons and genetics. With a secret ember of regret, we put our toys away.
We sit quietly with the older kids and the adults as they scoff at superstition and fantasy (such useless fluff). There are no monsters in the real world. No strange beasts with clever eyes lying in a green shadow just at the forest edge.
By the time we are itching to drive a car, our world is suitably flat. At least its flat enough for society’s tolerance.
But the woods are still there for those that look. The dark corners still beckon those of us whose ember of regret never properly cooled. Despite the ringing sound of rationality in our ears, despite the electrons and genetics and taxes, we know deep down that there is something other. Perhaps something not entirely accounted for.
Is it this other that hovers just on the edge of perception? Is it this indefinable something that shows us shadowy people where no people should be, spinning disks and flashing lights, and black-eyed things not quite human?
If you’ve brushed this thing, this other, then you know. Maybe we don’t know what it really is behind the puzzle, but we know without question that its there.
Perhaps this is why being a grown-up today carries with it so much baggage. Perhaps we are all, deep down, terrified of the realization that all of our credit cards and sports teams and primetime cop dramas cannot forever keep at bay the secret known to a few lucky, frustrated, tormented souls:
There are such things, aren’t there?